Tuesday, 30 August 2011
Review: Dairy Queen
Author: Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Publication Date: May 22nd, 2006
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction
Even since her dad hurt his hip, DJ Schwenk has been doing the majority of the work on her family’s dairy farm. She’s put farm work ahead of school and sports, and runs the whole farm with little help from her family. The Schwenk family is full of hard workers who barely speak about things that matter, or even speak at all. While DJ’s younger brother Curtis very rarely talks, her older brothers are no longer on speaking terms with the family. When the rich and popular Brian Nelson is sent to help work on the farm, DJ starts to realize that she is just like a cow, doing exactly what she’s supposed to. DJ sets out to change this by becoming Brian’s trainer, even though he’s the quarterback for the opposing school. While spending time with Brian, DJ starts to realize that her family never talks about anything meaningful. As she struggles with juggling her personal life and her farm work, DJ learns how to speak about the things that matter.
I’d heard a lot of good things about this book and it didn’t disappoint. Murdock did a good job at creating a likable protagonist that was easy to relate to. I really cared for and sympathized with DJ. This book was fun, quirky and unique but addressed some serious issues as well. I’ve read other books that take place on farms where the farm is used for a few jokes about cow poop and then left in the background. I think that this book made good use of the setting and it really made Dairy Queen interesting. Even if you have no interest in football and farming (which both play a big role in this book) you’ll still find yourself interested in DJ and her life in rural Wisconsin.
This book is written as if fifteen-year-old DJ was writing it for an English assignment. I liked the authenticity of the writing style; it felt like it was really written by a teenage girl. However, for some people the writing style might be hard to get into at first, since it can be awkward at times. The one big thing I didn’t like about this book was the cover. It makes it seem like it’s about a book about a hardworking tomboy who runs her family’s dairy farm and loves football. It’s kind of cute, but it just doesn’t seem to fit.
Overall, Dairy Queen is a fun YA read with great characters. I thought that it was a unique book that’s worthy of all the hype. I’ll definitely pick up the sequel, The Off Season.
"But it turns out that even if I don’t talk a lot, when it’s something that matters I still have a lot to say."